North Central Health District


Second Case of COVID-19 Variant Identified in North Central Health District


B.1.1.7 Variant Identified in Putnam County

North Central Health District (NCHD) has been informed by one of the labs conducting COVID-19 variant testing of a case of the B.1.1.7 variant, or UK variant, of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been identified in Putnam County. This new case is the second documented variant COVID-19 case within NCHD’s 13-county district in Central Georgia.

NCHD advises all communities in the 13 counties to take the same precautions as if a variant case had been identified nearby and that the variant could be identified anywhere. Variant testing is very limited and there are likely more cases of variants within the district.

“While we currently only have two COVID-19 variant cases identified within our district, it would be realistic to say we have more variant cases throughout our counties that have not been identified,” said Amber Erickson, NCHD Director of Epidemiology, Community Assessment and Research Initiatives. “Variant testing is limited in Georgia, and not all positive tests are screened for variants. That’s why it is so essential for our residents to be vigilant when it comes to following public health guidelines.”

B.1.1.7 can spread more easily than the common strain of the virus that causes COVID-19. The variant may be linked to an increased risk of death, but more studies are needed to confirm this characteristic. The variant has been found in several countries across the globe, with the U.S. reporting 6390 cases to the CDC at the time of this release. Per the CDC, Georgia has a least 350 cases of this variant, but there are likely unidentified cases throughout the state. Variants like B.1.1.7 that spread easier can lead to more cases of COVID-19, which could put more strain on hospitals and other healthcare providers.

In addition to the B.1.1.7 variant, the U.S. continues to see increases in cases of the B.1.351 and P.1 variants of COVID-19, known respectively as the South African and Brazilian variants. Here in Georgia, variant testing has discovered 15 cases of B.1.351 and 1 case of P.1.

“All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S. by emergency use authorization provide some level of protection against the know COVID-19 variants,” said Erickson. “However, until there is more data, we will not know just how effective the vaccines are against the variants.”

NCHD encourages everyone within the district and across the state to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19, including variants, by following these actions:

  • Get your COVID-19 vaccine when you can – the best COVID-19 vaccine is the one available to you.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water a not available, us an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue. If a tissue is not available, use the inside of your elbow to cover yourself.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch objects and surfaces.
  • Keep at least a six-foot distance from others in public spaces.
  • Avoid large gatherings or crowds.
  • Wear layered face coverings in public spaces.

For more information about the COVID-19, including testing information, guidance and more, visit For additional Georgia COVID-19 information, visit

Comments are closed.

COVID-19 vaccine available! 12 sites now offering vaccination without appointment.See Schedule